The Colorado Mammoth went up against the Buffalo Bandits on Saturday January 18, 2014 at The Pepsi Center in Denver. It was Military Appreciation Night at HealthOne Field, the pre-game ceremonies were spectacular, honoring all branches of the military and the Mammoth donned their camouflage jerseys and shorts which were put for auction and the funds being donated to charity. They also had camouflage helmet wraps to complete the military look.
Unfortunately, the Mammoth came out on the losing end again by the final score of 16-9 making them 1-5 in the MLL Western Division. This is the first win ever by the Bandits in Denver and their third straight victory in 2014.
The Mammoth had just lost to the Vancouver Stealth on January 17, 2014 in OT by the score of 14-13 and only running on four hours sleep. They arrived back in Denver at 3:00 on Saturday afternoon, and the league didn’t do them any favors by giving them back-to-back away and home games. But that’s no excuse for what seems to be a lack of team work on the part of the squad. They have stellar veteran players in forward John Grant, Jr., #24, who is tied for second in points (28) and third in assists (17); forward Drew Westervelt #26, who is fourth in both goals (13) and SOG (44); forward Athan Iannucci #23; forward Sean Pollock #17; forward Adam Jones #16, the NLL leader in four areas, including goals (16), points (29), FTO (11), and SOG (60); defenseman/face-off Bob Snider #41 who leads the league in both FOW (105) and LB (74), and is tied for second in FTO (9); and finally goaltender Dillon Ward #45 who is fourth in saves (153). All in all, the Colorado Mammoth have five players who are either leading or in the top five in players stats for the 2014 season.
Unfortunately, even with all this talent, the Buffalo Bandits had complete control of this game with the exception of part of the second quarter when the Mammoth scored five goals, but quickly reverted back to their third quarter woes and were held to only three goals between the third and fourth quarters.
Dhane Smith #92, transition (4 G, 2 A) and Steve Priolo #23, defenseman, (3 G, 1 A) led Buffalo’s offense. There were three Buffalo players with 2 goals each, Joe Resetarits #5, forward (2 G, 2 A), Mark Steenhuis #9, forward (2 G, 1 A), Andrew Watt #22, transition (2 G, 1 A), and three players with one goal each, Kevin Brownell #8, transition (1 G, 1 A), Ryan Benesch #17, forward (1 G, 7 A), and Chad Culp #19, forward (1 G).
The Mammoth’s leading scorer was Jones (3 G, 2 A), followed by Grant Jr. (2 G, 3 A); Iannucci (2 G, 1 A); and two players with one goal each, Pollock (1 G, 3 A); and Westervelt (1 G, 2 A).
Buffalo Bandits goaltender Anthony Cosmo #44 had an exceptional game with 43 SOG, 34 saves, 9 GA, and a .791 save percentage. He credited the team with a stellar overall effort, along with strong defense and an exhausted Mammoth squad.
The Colorado Mammoth’s goalie woes continue to dominate their game. Tye Belanger #31 only played 12:59 minutes, had 16 SOG, 11 saves, 5 GA, and a .688 save percentage. This is the fourth time he has started a game only to be pulled in favor of Ward. Dillon Ward played the remainder of the game 47 minutes, had 38 SOG, 28 saves, 10 GA, and a .737 save percentage.
The Bandits outplayed the Mammoth, put pressure on the team as a whole and came out victorious.
The Mammoth cannot continue to allow teams to score multiple goals in the early quarters and then have to play catch up for the remainder of the game. You could see the frustration on the players faces throughout the game. There were multiple turnovers, rebounds and loose balls missed, bad passes, very little defense, a lack of quality shots on goal and in the end another Mammoth loss.
It is imperative that the Mammoth use those veteran players to their fullest potential, make a decision as to who will start in goal, and most importantly play as a team for the full 60 minutes if they want to start winning games.